From TIME’s Sophia Yan, on-site at the Values Voters Summit:
FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly spoke here on Friday evening, but at the last minute he barred press from the ballroom where he delivered his remarks. Family Research Council media relations staff were left to apologize to the media, including the FOX crew covering the Summit–they were in the dark about O’Reilly’s request, too.
What did O’Reilly have to say that he didn’t want reporters to hear? I asked an audience member to record the speech, but when I listened to it later, I only heard the sort of media-bashing that was commonplace at the conference. “A lot of them are simply afraid,” O’Reilly told the crowd, talking about journalists. Those that “work in the newsroom of the New York Times, the Boston Globe, NBC News” think that “[they] know [their] career will be derailed” if they present positive coverage of conservatives. Not exactly red-hot stuff.
We in the media were about as popular at the Summit as Van Jones and ACORN. Earlier on Friday, one Values Voter tried to snatch a MSNBC correspondent’s microphone during a live shot in the press pen, sputtering, “Would you mind? This is about the rudest thing you can do.” I wandered into the Values Voter prayer room just as a middle-aged man asked the group to join him in calling on God to “bless the media…to let them hear the truth” and to “bridle their tongue according to your spirit.”
And on Friday morning, the Summit’s emcee earned some laughs when he warned the crowd that anyone who violated the rule against videotaping speakers would be “punished with a one-year subscription to Newsweek magazine. There’s a reason why Newsweek is next to the National Enquirer in the grocery store.” It sounds like someone’s still a little upset about that whole “The End of Christian America” story.